Well this season sees me embark on a cracking little lake set in the heart of the new forest. This place has around longer than I have. I remember walking it many many times way back when I was a teenager and never did get to fish it. Back then it had so very large and hard carp to catch. Over the yrs things things move on and alot of the fish have passed away. Not all is lost as there there is still a handful of fish left . There’s around 10/11 left with around 3 or 4 being the originals and 2 of which go around the 30 mark. It’s around and acre n half approx and super difficult, but I do love a challenge. It does have a close season which is still nice to see and with this in mind I set about walking, watching and baiting every day come rain or shine for the passed 12 weeks or so. This has helped me Massively in getting to know the movements and feed habits of my intended quarry. At 1 point I had almost if not all the stock sitting over my spots just waiting for me to give them there grub lol. Well the close season had passed so quickly and the lake had bloomed Into a vast abundance of lillies, weed and Insect life. June the 16th was apon me and I was chomping at the bit to get there. Now normally you are only aloud to fish days from first light but I just had to get there to stake my claim and left around just after midnight to set up in the dark and sit and chill with a cuppa and watch the stars till I could see the sky brake for dawn. At that moment, sitting there watching the flat calm moonlit water was enough. I was all in aure of this little gem of a lake, hoping it would be kind to me throughout the yr. Everynow and then the waters surface would break with one of the carp breaching its stillness, leaving rolling waves that touch my bank, wondering If it was one of the residents I wanted to catch. The sky started to change colour from the abiss of darkness and stars to a broken purple and grey, knowing dawn was minutes from the start of a new day. All the rods were baited and ready to go. Gentle flicking them out into position, I sat back quiet as a mouse and put the kettle on. An hr or so had passed before any action was seen. My left hand rod get gave out a single beep which had me poised like a dog staring at its prey lol. Then another 2 simultaneous beeps gave out before going into melt down. I was on it like a flash, the rod almost bent double as I tried to stop it from reaching the small set of pads up the end of the small bay I was in. (I was using heavy gear due to the density of the weed , incorporating 18lb line straight through and size 4 curved hooks on Ronnie rigs fished in light silt). As much as I held on, the fish had other ideas, an incredible strength and power, as you could imagine as these fish don’t come out very often at all… I was locked up and didn’t give it an inch, yet the fish slowly pulled me along the bank and breached the pads by only a foot and then boom!!…. the rig popped out only leaving me with 3 strands of weed to show for my efforts….well, was I gutted??? You bet I was. Deep in my head I knew it had to be one of the 2 bigguns left in the place.either the mirror they call the ugly one (or the tail as it was originally called or the big common). Either way Walking back to the brolly thinking was there anything else I could have done ,was the rig the right choice etc. We have all been there right?. with new rigs on and baits put back in position, I pondered on thinking, was I going to get another chance as more than 1 bite on this place was unheard of.. 3 hrs passed without any more action and by now the sun was starting to get high in the sky, although hot the stiff breeze kept a coolness to the surface of the lake and it looked good for another bite. nothing happened till around 9am when my left rod came Into play. Yet again another spirited fight came from the fish only this time the hook opened out as I tried desperately to keep it from breaching the same set of pads. My heart sank… 2 bites and 2 lost fish.
All of that hard work of baiting, walking and watch over 12 weeks had me thinking I had failed at the last hurdle…i knew it was going to be tough on here but felt very cheated to say the least. With my tail between my legs I walked bc to the shade of the brolly. And sat there just staring into oblivion.. I feel for anybody that loses fish. More tea was required to soften the blow and to psych myself up to have another go. With my Head cleared, I thought I’d change position of the rods this time as thought that would have definitely pushed the fish out from my little bay. After an hr or so I noticed fish to my right, working the heavy set of pads, as this was the main safe area of the lake. Around the perimeter were broken,individual pads with small gaps to place baits. Once the fish had moved through, I quickly set about lowering 2 single baits in 2 areas around a rodlength apart and stood up behind some gorse bush and watched egarly over them. It was only no more than a couple of feet and gin clear so spotting the pop ups was quite easy. 20 minutes passes which saw a nice dark common approach the spot.the closer it got the more my heart raced 😀. As the fish enter the small opening, it clocked the hook bait instantly and dropped on it like a stone. I was on the rod in a flash as it proceeded to arch over, the fish desperately trying it’s best to shed my hook.. I don’t think the common had any idea what was going on, as it was all over in a flash. I had it doing most of its fight in the net. I knew I wasnt giving this one any leeway at all. It took a few seconds to sink in that Finally I had caught my first fish from this little historic venue. What it lacked in size Sure did make up for in the effort i had put in. It was definitely not an original but had been there a few yrs now. No sooner had I caught my 1 when the other angler opposite was into 1 too. With the photos of my fish done I turned around to hear the angler give out a big yes!!! As he pulled the spreader block over his prize. He shouted across that he had caught the ugly one/ the tail!!. I offered my services into taking some photos for him to which he obliged greatfully. this had given me chance to see 1 of my targets on the bank and too touch it, Just to make sure it really did exist and not just in shadows that passed over them baited spots. Although the fish went 32.12 the weight was irrelevant to me as I so want to catch this truly iconic fish. The other angler (phil) had confirmed to me he had waited 9 yrs to catch it with a lose of the same fish a couple of yrs ago. I hope this can put into perspective how hard this place can be. A truly awesome place with beautiful handful of residents left that id dearly like to meet one day. I must say a massive thank you to my partner Emma Wood for taking my photos and sharing that moment with me. It wouldnt have been the same without you there. #1 down 9/10 to go!! #Happyhuntingeverybody #ishallbeback